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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Montenegro, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia, align themselves with this statement.

Mr President,

Let me begin by expressing the European Union’s appreciation for the way the UN has managed the unprecedented expansion of its peacekeeping activities. UN peacekeepers serve in conflict zones at a scale few could have foreseen ten years ago.

Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of the landmark Brahimi process. It paved the way for ambitious reforms and a new era of UN peacekeeping. Today, UN peacekeeping is again at a critical juncture. As noted by the Under Secretary-Generals Le Roy and Malcorra, the system is stretched to the point where some missions face the risk of failure. This would have serious consequences not only for international peace and security but also for international cooperation.

We commend the Secretariat for its non-paper “Charting a New Horizon for UN Peacekeeping” and the Security Council for the review it has undertaken over the past months on the basis of the French-British initiative. These activities – together with other initiatives such as the Challenges Forum.– have generated a set of ideas and recommendations which would better position UN peacekeeping to respond to current and future challenges.

Today’s debate is very timely. It provides an opportunity to take stock of progress made in adapting UN peacekeeping to new demands and set a course for the work in the coming years.

Mr. President,

After the catastrophic events in Bosnia and Rwanda in the 1990s, the UN went through a period of soul-searching. It proved that the organisation was capable to learn from setbacks and adapt to the changing demands of global peacekeeping.

It is encouraging that the surge of UN peacekeeping – while putting difficult strains on the organization – has been marked by a similar determination. The Secretariat’s reform agenda “Peace Operations 2010” has been an important step towards a more professional and effective approach to UN peacekeeping.

This agenda should now be taken a step further. We need to build a new political consensus on the strategic context of peacekeeping and on the role of the UN membership and regional partners in providing collective support to peacekeeping. The challenge is to ensure that gaps between needs, expectations and performance are minimized.

Since the Brahimi Report, decisive improvements have been achieved, but many of the challenges identified in the report remain. And there are new demands which need to be addressed. The financial crisis puts additional pressure on UN peacekeeping, and so does the current overstretch of military, police and civilian resources faced by many member States.

Mr. President,

The “New Horizons paper” is an excellent basis for seeking a new consensus on UN peacekeeping. Its recommendations provide us with a coherent and realistic framework for further improvements. They should guide our work in the period ahead.

While the European Union believes it is necessary to consider all of the recommendations in a positive spirit, we would at this stage like to draw attention to a few points of strategic importance to develop the partnerships called for in the “New Horizons paper”:

Burden-sharing: Countries bring different contributions to peacekeeping, and regional organizations take on an increasing share of the burden. A dialogue should be initiated between the UN and its partners on what the different stakeholders can bring to the table, how we can improve co-operation and enhance our interoperability, whether the missions are carried out under the auspices of the UN or other organizations.

Consultations: There is a need to develop closer consultation mechanisms between the different actors involved in peacekeeping. The report outlines a number of concrete recommendations on how this could be done. We must seek mechanisms which bring the different stakeholders on board at an early stage, while ensuring a proper balance between effectiveness and inclusiveness, without creating unnecessary bureaucracy. The implementation of the Joint-Declarations on UN-EU Co-operation of 2003 and 2007 are important contributions in this respect

Managing the missions: The agenda “Peace Operations 2010” should be carried through and steps be taken to continue to enhance professionalism and the management of missions to ensure that they have the necessary resources and support to undertake their mandate effectively. As recognized in the report, peacekeeping missions cannot be planned or carried out in isolation from the political context in which they are to operate. Devising political strategy is a fundamental task, which should include exit perspectives. The EU welcomes the Secretary-General’s recent report on peacebuilding which highlights some of the challenges in this respect and demonstrates the close links between peacekeeping and peacebuilding.

Mr. President,

In December, it will be ten years since the launch of the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) which is the basis for the EU’s peacekeeping efforts. Some twenty EU civilian and military peacekeeping missions have been carried out so far, several of them in close co-operation with the UN . The experiences the EU has made over the past decade range from small observer missions to complex undertakings including both civilian and military components

EU-UN co-operation has been enhanced along the way, most recently through the transfer of responsibilities between the two organizations in Chad and in Kosovo. The EU has also developed close collaboration with important regional actors, in particular through the strategic partnership with the African Union.

Mr President,

In peacekeeping, it has rightly been stated that no one size fits all. The process of forming partnerships and sharing the burden must continue with a view to finding the best collective response to global and regional conflicts based on our different perspectives, experiences, and capabilities. The “New Horizons paper” should be the starting point for a new political momentum in this regard. The EU intends to be an active partner in that process.

Thank you.

* Croatia and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


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